Unlike most touristic experiences, the workshop has been designed to offer participants an authentic and pervasive immersion. The diet and accommodations have been specifically chosen to reinforce this in-depth and personal experience of the people, nature and places of the Peruvian Amazon: sharing their lives on their terms.
While every endeavour has been made to mitigate discomfort, authenticity over luxury has been the overriding criteria in selection.
We’ll be staying at river and rainforest eco-lodges in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Typically, bedrooms are thatched bungalows on raised wooden platforms with mosquito netting, each with a private bathroom and a porch. Air conditioning is not available nor ecologically sustainable..
Hammock sleeping, which is favoured in the region, is also recommended, especially for those planning onward travel by ‘lanchas’. These are the boats that carry dozens to hundreds of people to and from Iquitos and towns along the Amazon and major tributaries. Relaxing in a swaying hammock is also a lot more comfortable than sitting on a hard bench for a full day and is quite handy for artists sketching in the rainforest.
We recommend cotton hammocks which come in a variety of sizes and are good choices for backpackers travelling on boats and sleeping in rural lodges. They are bulkier than ones made of synthetic materials, but they are the most comfortable. They are also warmer – a nice asset in chilly nights in the Amazon. The best quality cloth hammocks are made in Brazil, but all types can be bought in Peru.
Food in the Amazon is full of exotic delicacies. Chonta or palm tree heart salad is a delicious entrée. Meats and plantains are ever present in the main dishes, like grilled banana plantains (tacacho) with deep-fried beef (cecina) served with chopped onions and dried meat, or stuffed bananas, a banana dough stuffed with beef and peanuts.
Fowl, fish and wild meat are indispensable ingredients in preparing “juanes” (rice dough stuffed with chicken and wrapped in banana leaves for cooking), grilled “picuro” (delicious wild meat), “apishado” or pork cooked in a peanut and corn sauce, and “patarashca” fish wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over a fire.
Soups include “inchicapi” chicken soup with peanuts, coriander and manioc and “carachama” fish soup cooked also with banana plantain and coriander.
Aguajina is a refreshing drink made from the “aguaje” a jungle fruit, while “masato” is a fermented manioc and sugar beer. “Chuchuhuasi” is a fermented beer made from the chuchuhuasi root, “uvachado” is prepared with grapes and “chapo” is a cooked banana, water and milk beverage.
Source: Peru Mucho Gusto.
When thinking of getting around in Amazonia, river transport probably comes to mind. Being home to the longest river in the world, with countless tributaries, it is certainly true that a myriad of boats – ranging from dugout canoes to narrow peke-peke speedboats to luxury cruise ships.
There’s no better way of exploring the Amazon River than by actually being on it, looking out at the dense rainforest. You’ll see river dolphins if you’re lucky, and you’ll pass by some amazing floating villages.
And yet, when stepping out of the airport in Iquitos, you will be struck by the sight – and sound – of another form of transport: the moto-taxi, which will generally outnumber cars by at least five to one. The most common is the converted motorcycle with the bench seat in the rear. It also has a rack behind the seat for luggage, cargo … and occasionally further humans.
During the workshop, transfers to and from locations will be done by means of the river. Daily outings will, typically, be in motorised or paddle canoes or by foot in the rainforest. Nonetheless, a ride in the back of a moto-taxi through Amazonian scenery, be it urban or rural, is an exhilarating and authentic slice of Peruvian life.